We often get asked what are the differences between the Age Pension and the Disability Support Pension for those who have reached Age Pension age.
Centrelink will invite those on the Disabilty Support Pension to transfer to the Age Pension up to 13 weeks before they reach Age Pension age. You will need to tell Centrelink if you want to transfer or not.
Five questions to consider
Figures and infomation are current at the time of writing.
1. Are you working?
The work bonus is available for those over Age Pension age, where you can earn $300 pfn (up to $7,800 pa) before your pension is affected. For those that are income tested, this could add up to $150 pfn in either Age Pension or Disability Support Pension.
However, for Disability Support Pensioners, you may also receive a Mobility Allowance of $139.10 pfn for meeting the work and travel criteria.
If you continue to receive the Disability Support Pension Incentive Allowance of $62 pfn, this will be lost if you move to the Age Pension. This allowance is not available to pensioners after November 1991.
If you are on a Disability Support Pension, and you lose the pension payment due to your employment or your partner’s employment income, you may still be eligible to retain your concession card.
2. Are you renting?
The maximum rent assistance is higher for those on the Disability Support Pension for a single person in shared accomodation. This $142.80 pfn, compared to a single Age Pensioner in shared accomodation, who would get 75 cents for every dollar of rent, up to the maximum of $95.20 pfn.
3. Are you studying?
You get access to the Pension Education Supplement ($62.40 pfn) and Education Entry Payment ($208 pa) if you study and receive the Disability Support Pension.
You may also receive a Mobility Allowance if you travel to study, while on the Disability Support Pension. For particular study and work arrangements, this is up to $139.10 pfn plus an extra 12 weeks payment.
4. Are you completing the ongoing medical requirements?
Being on a Disability Support Pension may mean you have ongoing medical review requirements. This is not required for the Age Pension.
5. Do you travel overseas for extended periods?
The Age Pension allows for recipients to travel for 6 weeks before the pension amount is reviewed compared to 28 days for the Disability Support Pension.
- Carer Allowance for a partner can continue regardless of either pension, the Age Pension or Disability Support Pension.
- The Disability Support Pension is tax free, but not after the recipient is Age Pension age. It becomes taxable like the Age Pension.
In conclusion, in most cases that do not involve specific benefits around work, study, rent and travel, we see there is no real difference in benefits, however, the Age Pension may be simpler to administer without medical review requirements.